Old Games Stuff
Updated: 2021-12-21 - added the "Unreal" section.
This is the page where I share my love of older PC games. Since I can't play modern games - which most of them sucks anyway - I am finally finishing some older ones! Most of these games are available from GOG, and I recommend to buy from them, as you can archive the games very well and mods are working with these versions too.
The page is under heavy construction, so expect more reviews, resources and other useful stuff.
How to use DOSBox?
DOSBox is an important part of software preservation as you can run most of the DOS stuff (and not just games) with it. Recently I found a very good article about how to use it, by CubicleNate: DOSBox basics on Linux. Highly recommend for bookmarking it. I like that it has screenshots and very easy to follow. He is using OpenSUSE, but the package name for DOSBox is the same everywhere.
Rainbow Six was the first and original tactical shooter. The first game was based on the Tom Clancy of the same name (and yes Rainbow Six is codename of the leader of the org., John Clark). It's about an international anti-terrorist organization, called Rainbow. And no they weren't gay, or anything. This was back in 1998, when Quake II and Unreal were the latest in the fps, and here comes a game with complex story, gameplay mechanics, and the first ever first person game, where you had to plan the whole mission down to everything. This made sure that we don't just run through the missions, but actually spend some time planning it. Most of the time, you spend more time with planning than playing the mission. And it was amazing. The game was a success and spawned an expansion pack, called Eagle Watch. Then came the sequel in 2001, with significant improvements, and later more expansion packs.
And there is a solution to play it all, on a modern hardware, just click here: Rainbow Six
It is one of my all time favorite first person shooter. You play as a shipwrecked prisoner on an unknown planet. Beautiful scenery, amazing music and good weapons among many others why this game can be praised even after 20 years.
Want to know how to play it on a modern machine? Click here: Unreal.
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Wolfenstein 3D was the grandaddy of first person shooters, and one of the first game I ever played as a kid. I still remember the sound of the gun, the german shouting and the frakking dogs! Then later iD made Doom and Quake, and Wolfenstein was a little bit forgotten. After 9 years, in 2001 however the series with an aptly named "Return to Castle Wolfenstein". While the game is old (you can buy it from GOG), with a fan made mod - called Real RTCW - people still can enjoy this classic first person shooter (and yes it's perfectly playable on Linux too).
>> My Return to Castle Wolfenstein page…
The first real 3D first person shooter, made by iD Software. Since the source code is open, we have many source ports that you can test out for yourself. You can by the game with all the expansions on GOG, so you can have the data files, and you can check out Arcane Dimensions for the best mod ever made for this game. Seriously! Gazillion single player maps, really hard, with new enemies, weapons, and environments. With an awesome soundtracks, levels, really good sound design, and memorable multiplayer. I spent too much hours playing mp, and downloading maps. This was the first game that really went into the AI stuff, with designing bots. It spawned countless mods, like CTF, it had the original Team Fortress, Quake Arena, and many others. You could even drive cars in Quake Rally! Buy them from GOG!
"The country remains in a state of shock following the assassination of President Sheridan. You wake up, wounded and with amnesia, on a deserted beach on the east coast. The only clues as to your identity are a tattoo of the number XIII near your collarbone and a locker key. Even though your memory is failing, you discover that you have the reflexes of a highly trained professional fighter.
You set off in search of your past, discovering that you played a role in the murder of the President of the United States of America, and revealing the most astounding conspiracy ever hatched in the country's history."
You can easily play this on Linux, just install the GOG version, and applied the patch above from ModDB. This is a fantastic game, it feels like you are in a comicbook, not just the cellshading effect itself, but if you for example headshot somebody, you can see it in 3 quick panels. Also if there is an explosion near you, the screen shakes and you can see the panel borders. David Duchovny provided the voice of the main character.
Also, don't by the remake, it's just very bad, see GmanLives review of it.
No One Lives Forever
A first person shooter/spy game from Monolith, starring Cate Archer. When people say they want a female James Bond, why can't they just adapt Archer's story to the big screen? (I know, we can't have sexy female leads nowadays…)
It's a legendary FPS game from Monolith, with a 1960s vibe, and making fun of the spy movies. The gameplay is satisfying enough that we can overlook the non-existent AI, and enjoy the over the top story.
The page below has all the game and expansion pack, and it works even on Windows 10.
While the game is technically in a legal limbo, and you can't get it anywhere outside of Ebay, the fans made this version that you can play on modern machines.
Build engine games
The build engine was developed by Ken Silvermann in the mid 1990s. He not just created the engine, but the level editor for it, which allowed people to create there own modifications.
With this engine people created multiple games that now part of gaming history. Despite the strong competition from Quake and Unreal a few years later, build engine thrived, as they were allowed to create interactive environments, and overall better gameplays than either Quake or Unreal did at the time.
The holly trinity of build engine games (as Civvie11 called them) are Duke Nukem 3D - which transitioned to first person, after the first 2 games were 2d platformers -, Shadow Warrior and Blood. They all have different characters, enemies, "stories" and weapons, but one thing in common: fast paced, interactive shooter. And with tons of content thanks to the level editor!
To this group of 3 glorious games, joined Ion Fury, not long ago.
I don't even have to mention, but all of these games are 18+, although I played DN3D and others when I was 13-14 and I turned out to be just a normal depressed person, and not a psycho.
Duke Nukem 3D
Duke Nukem is the typical 80s hero character (think like Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Willis). You can play this game without the first two, and only have to know that aliens are coming to Earth, and only Duke can stop them.
While we have standard arsenal of weapons, like a pistol, shotgun or a chainsaw cannon, we also have a weapon which shrink enemies, or a pipebomb (remote controlled), plus some interesting items like the holoduke, which can serv as a distraction to the enemies, or the jetpack (pretty cool).
Many element of the world is interactive, and Duke always commentate on something (voiced by the amazing Jon St. John).
The movement is very fast, and the gameplay can be quite vertical at times. The music is just fantastic, the theme music is legendary (Grabbag by Lee Jackson). I grow up on this game, and played not just the single player, but I enjoyed playing multiplayer with my friends too.
Over the years many version of the game came out, the last version is the 20th Anniversay World Tour by Gearbox. Gearbox now owns the Duke Nukem franchise and they tried to finish Duke Nukem Forever (a game, 14 years in the making), but ultimately failed. I prefer the Atomic edition, which I have on my GOG account, despite they don't sell it anymore.
If you want some modernized stuff, you can use the Eduke engine which has some amazing updated stuff, like widescreen support, crazy resolutions, OpenGL support, and it's available on every major operating system (probably no BSD support). I think you can also use this for other build engine games, like Ion Fury (which is based on Eduke).
Sadly there is no Duke Nukem on GOG, you can buy the 20th Anniversary edition on Steam. Thanks Randy!
Seriously if I were a millionare I'd buy Duke from Gearbox…
In this game you play as an old Lo Wang, who loves throwing shurikens, slicing monsters with his sword, or nuking people. Yes, Mr. Wang has nukes.
There is a version of the game of the original, under the name of Shadow Warrior Classic Complete, comes with soundtrack and manual. And it's totally free!
So yeah, just go there, download the game and play it. Beware, the game can be hard, but fun!
Shadow Warrior Classic Redux is basically the remastered version of the game for modern computers.
If you want to use a source port, Eduke is good for that too, or BuildGDX.
"The game follows the story of Caleb, an undead early 20th century gunfighter seeking revenge against the dark god Tchernobog."
The game is probably the best of the build engine games, as you go up against zombies, cultist and other weird things, with pitchfork, dynamite, flamethrower made from a lighter and aerosol can and a vodoo doll, along with familiar weapons of machine gun, shotgun, etc.
Speaking of shotgun, it probably features one of the best one - if not the best - in any first person shooter, including the Doom games.
Blood features the most brutal gameplay as you can set enemies on fire with multiple weapons, while they shout "it burns".
Throwing dynamite is an artform in itself.
You can buy Blood on GOG, as Blood: Fresh Supply, which is the remastered version, but contains the original versions too. The remake turned out well, no reason not to buy it.
Contains Thief: The Dark Project (and Thief Gold), Thief II: The Metal Age, Thief Deadly Shadows.
Thief: The Dark Project was the first stealth game from the first person perspective, heavily relied on sound and light elements. While the games' engine is old, thanks to the level editor, people are still making missions for all both Thief Gold (the extended version of TDP) and TMA.
Personally, I liked TMA better as the story left the supernatural stuff behind and moved into a new era of steampunk and machinery. Now Garrett faces a lunatic who wants to create a machine centered world.
Visit my Thief corner for more information.
Dungeon Keeper is a real-time strategy game, more precisly a god game from 1997, where we play the bad side for once. Building dungeons, killing heroes and conquering the underworld! With Dungeon Keeper FX you can have a better gameplay with widescreen resolution and other cool things!
Dungeon Keeper 2 came with new engine, and several improvements, but to this day, I have never played it. I honestly like the pixelated first game much better.
Check out my Dungeon Keeper page!
Command & Conquer (Remastered)
I played the original games, and when the remastered came out, I waited for reports, how it plays with Steam Proton. The game has not just upgraded graphics, but remastered music, multiplayer (ranked too), upgraded FMV stuff, and behind the scenes stuff. Unfortunately the original video source is lost, so they used an AI to upgrade it. The game also has updated UI and control options, among many more. It's truly a great remaster, in the same year when Warcraft Reforged and Resident Evil 3 came out. The game already got many updates to it too.
I highly recommend watching the NoClip documentary about the remastered version, how it came about. AI and games also put out a video about the AI in the game recently. And Digital Foundry went through what's in the remastered version, and why it become one of the best remastered games.
Unfortunately the game is only available on Steam, but in this way, you don't need to do much to make it work. If you however you don't want to pay for the game, but still want to get a little nostalgic, go to OpenRA, which is an open-source port of the game. Only the videos and music are missing, but everything is there, and people are still playing multiplayer. With the newly release source codes, the OpenRA devs will be able to use that, to develop their version further. Hats off to EA for this move!
This was one of my favorite childhood strategy game. There is an open source implementation that you can play the game natively, without DosBox. One of the best cyberpunk themed games ever. You can buy it from GOG.
One of the best space series of all time! It has no relation to Descent though.
Dark Forces was the first FPS from the Star Wars universe (1995). We bought the first gaming magazine because the stormtrooper on the cover. Sadly the game was overshadowed later by Quake and Duke Nukem 3D. The game had such a good level design, that GOG included the original manual, which had a detail instructions how to go through each map. This is one of the best Star Wars game ever with super midi soundtrack, original sounds from the movie, and one of the best hero, in Kyle Katarn.
Winter and Summer Challenge
One of my favorite childhood games, and the first sportsgames. Mechanically it doesn't really go beyond the press Enter to run, and jump with space, but I am sure you will enjoy the painful experience in your hands. :) I still love it, and it has local co-op, which can bring fun times for family and friends. Just remember, to laugh at each other when you press spacebar too soon in high jumping! It's 16 sports in 2 games. You can buy the game on GOG.
One of the first third person games, that amazed us, back in 1997! It had only a few levels, but because you couldn't save during levels (only between) and had tough enemies, it was a real blast. And it has one of the best music in a game, ever! You can buy it on GOG and make it work with Lutris, on Linux.
Total Annihilation: Commander Pack
I think this was the very first real 3D strategy game, and it was before Starcraft (which wasn't 3D). Two factions only, but it had land, see and air combat, and some unique mechanics, lots of units and great music. It spawned also an open source engine, Spring. The Commander Pack has the base game and all the expansion pack. There was another game under the Total Annihilation name, called Kingdoms, which was fantasy themed, with the same engine, two years later.
There is also multiplayer stuff for TA, if you want to test your skills against others, A fan mod of Total Annihilation with remastered graphics and balance.
Alien vs Predator 2
Screamer was an arcade racer series from the 1990s. It had everything except putting coins in a machine.
The first two games are available on GOG (Screamer | Screamer 2), but the Screamer Rally isn't. You probably have to search for it at other places. All of them are working from DosBox. They are pretty good games, classic in my opinion, with variety of game modes, and they have split screen mode too.
There are countless mods for the original Doom games.
- Blade of Agony: this is a Wolfenstein mod for Doom, based on GZDoom. Absolutely amazing mod with 3 playable chapters and many maps, basically elevating the old Wolfenstein 3D feeling to a more 3D look and feel. And of course it doesn't hurt that according to John Romero, this is one of the best Doom mod.
- Brutal Doom: more bloody, more visceral than the original doom, with new weapons. An absolute delight to play this.